Konami’s top shoot ‘em up for the Super Famicom.

Doesn’t really do much that’s original gameplay wise, but what it does, it does well. Something that sets Axelay apart is that the action alternatingly takes place in both top down vertically scrolling, and sideview horizontally scrolling levels. Something for everyone then. Although the weapon system is a bit simplistic - only three shipboard weapons, selectable from your arsenal before each level - it does succeed at working well in both types of level. This selection system adds a bit of strategy to the game, but then you’d have to know the levels to pick the right weapons. You can’t collect new weapons mid level, but your arsenal grows as you prgress through the game. The graphics and music in this game are both amazing. Topdown levels have a very impressive raster effect background, that adds perspective and makes it look as if the clouds are spilling down the screen. This was so impressive that it made some people rush out to buy a SNES. :) As for the music, I highly recomend anyone into shmup music to hund down the remix of the 2nd level theme (Colony Battle) as arranged on the Konami Shooting Battle CD.

See also, Pop ‘n Twinbee, Gradius.

Just to annoy people, here’s the text from the back of the Japanese manual:

Axelay

Ilis Defensive Forces executed the Axelay Plan agains the invasion of the Dark Empire. The main weapon is the Axelay which is a small multi-purpose fighter. Because Axelay is developed to be small size for thinking much of mobility. It can equip only necessary weaponry.

To be a mobile, powerful and defennsive fighter, Armed Forces decided to have Axelay equip special weaponry. Such special weaponry is developed at secret bases on different planets of the Ilis solar system.

Now. Axelay has become a more powerful fighter than other huge enemy fighters.

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